Category Archives: Glamour

Dress-down Friday: Janet Flanner

For non-fiction writers, I can think of few better models to aspire to than Janet Flanner. She crafted prose of the rarest clarity, elegance, insight and wit, aided by a faint air of detachment which allowed her to pin-point her subjects with piercing accuracy.

Dress-down Friday: Janet Flanner

For non-fiction writers, I can think of few better models to aspire to than Janet Flanner. She crafted prose of the rarest clarity, elegance, insight and wit, aided by a faint air of detachment which allowed her to pin-point her subjects with piercing accuracy.

Lotti Mame

Her first film boasted Marlene Dietrich among its cast list. Which should have been a good thing, except the film in question was Just a Gigolo, a hilariously misjudged mess starring David Bowie and also featuring Kim Novak.

Lotti Mame

Her first film boasted Marlene Dietrich among its cast list. Which should have been a good thing, except the film in question was Just a Gigolo, a hilariously misjudged mess starring David Bowie and also featuring Kim Novak.

The baron’s balls

The Baron de Redé was one of the city’s great hosts, standing in a tradition of party-givers strung across 20th century Paris like fairy lights: Étienne de Beaumont, George de Cuevas, Charles de Beistegui, Marie-Laure de Noailles. Redé knew them all, and took notes.

The baron’s balls

The Baron de Redé was one of the city’s great hosts, standing in a tradition of party-givers strung across 20th century Paris like fairy lights: Étienne de Beaumont, George de Cuevas, Charles de Beistegui, Marie-Laure de Noailles. Redé knew them all, and took notes.

Welcome to the pleasure dome

Marjorie Cameron retains a special role in the history of experimental filmmaking for her part in Kenneth Anger’s 1954 work Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome. It’s an extraordinary, multi-levelled piece of film art, a ritualistic parade of deities and archetypes.

Welcome to the pleasure dome

Marjorie Cameron retains a special role in the history of experimental filmmaking for her part in Kenneth Anger’s 1954 work Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome. It’s an extraordinary, multi-levelled piece of film art, a ritualistic parade of deities and archetypes.

Useless. Insignificant. Poetic.

W. C. Fields, Anthony Quinn, Errol Flynn, John Barrymore, Vincent Price, John Decker. The last-mentioned of that group is the one you’re least likely to recognise, but he’s not just the only non-actor, he is probably the most interesting of all.

Useless. Insignificant. Poetic.

W. C. Fields, Anthony Quinn, Errol Flynn, John Barrymore, Vincent Price, John Decker. The last-mentioned of that group is the one you’re least likely to recognise, but he’s not just the only non-actor, he is probably the most interesting of all.

A German miscellany

The documentary just shown on German TV about Weimar Berlin included Lotte Lenya singing a mesmerising “Seeräuber Jenny” and a rare glimpse of Valeska Gert’s infamous grotesque dances.

A German miscellany

The documentary just shown on German TV about Weimar Berlin included Lotte Lenya singing a mesmerising “Seeräuber Jenny” and a rare glimpse of Valeska Gert’s infamous grotesque dances.

Dress-down Friday: Jules Amédée Barbey d’Aurevilly

There are few names as evocative as Jules Amédée Barbey d’Aurevilly – I feel 12% more sophisticated just typing it out. One of those names like Auguste Villiers de l’Isle-Adam which seem to exist in their own perfumed cloud of posh, too archaic, too evanescent for an industrialised world.

Dress-down Friday: Jules Amédée Barbey d’Aurevilly

There are few names as evocative as Jules Amédée Barbey d’Aurevilly – I feel 12% more sophisticated just typing it out. One of those names like Auguste Villiers de l’Isle-Adam which seem to exist in their own perfumed cloud of posh, too archaic, too evanescent for an industrialised world.

A sâr is born

Joséphin Péladan was a keen self-publicist, describing himself as “the sandwich man of the Beyond”, and the opening night of the Salon des Rose+Croix in 1892 was mobbed by punters just as keen to lay eyes on the extraordinary “Sâr” as the work of such artists as Jean Delville.

A sâr is born

Joséphin Péladan was a keen self-publicist, describing himself as “the sandwich man of the Beyond”, and the opening night of the Salon des Rose+Croix in 1892 was mobbed by punters just as keen to lay eyes on the extraordinary “Sâr” as the work of such artists as Jean Delville.

Dress-down Friday: Sissi

From her dark hair fell a veil of black. Black were the ornaments in her hair, black her pearls, everything black, only her face was marble-white and ineffably sad…

Dress-down Friday: Sissi

From her dark hair fell a veil of black. Black were the ornaments in her hair, black her pearls, everything black, only her face was marble-white and ineffably sad…

After Hours

The Nancy Cunard who journeyed from Nice to the outskirts of Paris in early March, 1965 – drunk, drug-addled, half-mad, paranoid, crippled, emaciated – was a long way from the Nancy Cunard of popular memory, the poet, progressive publisher, proponent

After Hours

The Nancy Cunard who journeyed from Nice to the outskirts of Paris in early March, 1965 – drunk, drug-addled, half-mad, paranoid, crippled, emaciated – was a long way from the Nancy Cunard of popular memory, the poet, progressive publisher, proponent

Marquess Casati

This vision, dressed in something George Clinton might have rejected as being a little OTT, would be amazing enough if it had stepped out of a 1970s rock opera, or a disco fantasia about a mission to Mars manned exclusively by Village People.

Marquess Casati

This vision, dressed in something George Clinton might have rejected as being a little OTT, would be amazing enough if it had stepped out of a 1970s rock opera, or a disco fantasia about a mission to Mars manned exclusively by Village People.

Scarlet woman

If confronted with Dix’s 1925 canvas without knowing anything of the sitter, you might imagine her to be an aging, jaded fixture of Weimar Berlin’s demimonde, perhaps a prostitute, performer or drug addict washed up in the low tide of the night.

Scarlet woman

If confronted with Dix’s 1925 canvas without knowing anything of the sitter, you might imagine her to be an aging, jaded fixture of Weimar Berlin’s demimonde, perhaps a prostitute, performer or drug addict washed up in the low tide of the night.

Dress-down Friday: Madeleine Castaing

In her long life, French decorator Madeleine Castaing had a huge influence on interiors, helping to revive interest in 19th century styles long out of fashion. She took relatively cheap materials and mis-matched furniture and combined them in virtuoso arrangements

Dress-down Friday: Madeleine Castaing

In her long life, French decorator Madeleine Castaing had a huge influence on interiors, helping to revive interest in 19th century styles long out of fashion. She took relatively cheap materials and mis-matched furniture and combined them in virtuoso arrangements

A medley of extemporanea

Stephen Tennant’s narcissism was so pure and open and unabashed that it belongs almost to a different category. “You were very beautiful this evening Stephen,” reads one diary entry.

A medley of extemporanea

Stephen Tennant’s narcissism was so pure and open and unabashed that it belongs almost to a different category. “You were very beautiful this evening Stephen,” reads one diary entry.

Dress-down Friday: Julian Maclaren-Ross

No memoir of metropolitan literary life in the 1940s and 1950s would be complete without a vivid supporting part for him, invariably one where he wreaks inadvertent havoc on the memoirist’s hitherto orderly existence.

Dress-down Friday: Julian Maclaren-Ross

No memoir of metropolitan literary life in the 1940s and 1950s would be complete without a vivid supporting part for him, invariably one where he wreaks inadvertent havoc on the memoirist’s hitherto orderly existence.

Sarawak job

Sylvia, who took to her the role of ranee with relish, was not the demure consort expected by the largely Muslim nation, combining hauteur and lewdness while shamelessly (and misleadingly) talking up the dangerous exoticism of Sarawak to outsiders.

Sarawak job

Sylvia, who took to her the role of ranee with relish, was not the demure consort expected by the largely Muslim nation, combining hauteur and lewdness while shamelessly (and misleadingly) talking up the dangerous exoticism of Sarawak to outsiders.

Vamping it up

Born in 1889 as Jeanne Roques, Musidora played Irma Vep (I’m sure you can work out the anagram), a cabaret singer entangled with criminals, given to leaping fearlessly across the rooftops of Paris in a cat suit.

Vamping it up

Born in 1889 as Jeanne Roques, Musidora played Irma Vep (I’m sure you can work out the anagram), a cabaret singer entangled with criminals, given to leaping fearlessly across the rooftops of Paris in a cat suit.

Review: Daniel Schmid – Le chat qui pense

I can’t remember the last time I was so affected by a screen portrayal of an artist’s life and work. What a rare treat this was, and how perfectly did it illustrate the power of documentary filmmaking in opening up entire worlds.

Review: Daniel Schmid – Le chat qui pense

I can’t remember the last time I was so affected by a screen portrayal of an artist’s life and work. What a rare treat this was, and how perfectly did it illustrate the power of documentary filmmaking in opening up entire worlds.

Boni and the Palais Rose

After bagging his heiress in 1895, Boni de Castellane embarked on a spending spree which stood out even by the profligate standards of the Belle Époque, snapping up a schooner and a couple of chateaux and once hiring the entire Bois de Boulogne for a party.

Boni and the Palais Rose

After bagging his heiress in 1895, Boni de Castellane embarked on a spending spree which stood out even by the profligate standards of the Belle Époque, snapping up a schooner and a couple of chateaux and once hiring the entire Bois de Boulogne for a party.

Review: Beautiful Darling

Born James Slattery in 1944, Candy Darling’s twinned, indivisible desires were to be a woman and to be a movie star. In James Rasin’s film she emerges not as a hollow Warholian satellite but as a figure of flesh and blood.

Review: Beautiful Darling

Born James Slattery in 1944, Candy Darling’s twinned, indivisible desires were to be a woman and to be a movie star. In James Rasin’s film she emerges not as a hollow Warholian satellite but as a figure of flesh and blood.